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Games Science

Super Scrabble Players Have Unusual Brains 142

Posted by samzenpus
from the Timothy-explained dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Being a competitive Scrabble player apparently warps your brain, in a good way, according to researchers at the University of Calgary in Canada. At the high level of the game, players quickly judge whether words, or possible words are real based in large part on their visual stimuli — not an inherent knowledge of the word or its meaning. 'These findings indicate that Scrabble players are less reliant on the meaning of words to judge whether or not they are real, and more flexible at word recognition using orthographic information. ... Competitive Scrabble players are visual word recognition experts and their skill pushes the bounds of what we previously considered the end-point of development of the word recognition system.'"
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Super Scrabble Players Have Unusual Brains

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  • Cause and Effect? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @08:51PM (#37125024)

    Does being a competitive Scrabble player warp your brain, or are those with warped brains more likely to become competitive Scrabble players?

  • Re:What nonsense. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @09:46PM (#37125328)

    How is recognizing a valid word without knowing anything about it useful, outside of Scrabble and similar contrivances? I watched Word Wars [wikipedia.org] some years ago about competition Scrabble players, and let me tell you, these are not smart people. They are people who have dumped all of their lives and meager talents into memorizing all the "valid" seven character patterns in English. They don't know meanings, they are not particularly literate, they just know what pattern of characters is valid and what pattern isn't. I don't think this is particularly praiseworthy, and to try to look at it physiologically as a special positive aspect seems to me to be in denial of who these people really are what limited abilities they truly have.

    Being a phenomenal scrabble player is notable in exactly the same way as being a phenomenal sprinter is notable. Good sprinters have also dumped all of their lives into figuring out how to run the fastest under very constrained conditions. Their ability doesn't help them outside of it. By your argument, we should ignore almost all record setters, as the elite in a field are often those who disregard all else.

    Instead, we are amazed by sprinters going faster today then medical science previously thought possible. I am amazed by Scrabble players specializing their brains beyond what was thought possible. Whether the act of such dedication to anything is healthy is debatable, but the results are amazing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @10:05PM (#37125420)

    Speaking as a seasoned Scrabble player, I think you mean "definately."

    You must not be very good at scrabble.

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